Besides Julio Jones, no other receiver on the Falcons may have been more explosive than Taylor Gabriel. The cast-off from the Browns was a revelation in his first year in Atlanta, showing top-tier speed and a toughness that belies his small stature. He certainly figures to have a big impact again in 2017, though how big remains to be seen.
Gabriel hasn’t been in the league for very long, so the numbers here are somewhat sparse. Here’s how he’s done since he’s been in the league:
2016 - 13 games, 579 yards
2015 - 13 games, 241 yards
2014 - 16 games, 621 yards
In his first three years, he’s averaging right around 34 yards per game, and about 480 yards per season.
Our target number
Given the role he’s likely to have in Atlanta’s offense, and since this will be his second year as a Falcon, I’m setting the target number at 650.
Why he’ll go under
As amazing as Gabriel has been, his smaller stature could mean more injuries than a bigger, more physical receiver. Additionally, he’s one of many weapons on a loaded offense and his overall targets could see a slight dip. He’s also not going to surprise teams like he did last year, as almost every defensive coordinator will know when he’s on the field in 2017.
Why he’ll go over
Gabriel may be one of the fastest players in the NFL, and with Julio demanding double-teams constantly, Gabriel figures to see some very favorable match-ups all year long. Matt Ryan has already shown a willingness to throw to him and that will likely only improve in his second year with the MVP quarterback. If he can get to a full 16 games, he should be able to easily beat the target we’ve set.
Over/Under: 650 yards for Gabriel
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